I have spent the last six years concertedly thinking about and researching migration; more specifically, temporary migration to a country that is socio-culturally different to ones country of origin.
You might say that this is the position I am in myself, although some may argue that 14 years does not seem very temporary. There is an intention to move elsewhere at some point though and so in that sense it is temporary. In any case during the course of my research, similar to my informants in India, I have also faced some big challenges that have been more difficult to deal with being away from my country of origin, England, where, in my imagination at least, there is some kind of status quo.
As I told you in my last piece, giving birth and having little G in our lives has made me realize how engrained particular aspects of my British culture are, and as the little one grows we can see both the positive and (to us) negative aspects of Danish culture that he may or may not pick up. We also miss not having our families around, even though we have some very good friends who are very much like family to us here.
I have experienced another first recently that is affecting my everyday life now and probably will do for some time. It is also making think even more, if that is at all possible, about my research topic and how much the everyday lives of migrants differ to those of domestic populations.
Migrants in Denmark often end up befriending other migrants because of challenges with socializing with Danes. I am not of the opinion that Danes are so difficult to get to know. The difference in Denmark is that often the onus is on you to do the work of befriending, and this is what many migrants struggle with. I was young and carefree and worked in bars and restaurants when I arrived here, and so met and socialized with many Danes during those years; they continue to be my good friends now. I also have many foreign friends. The ‘first’ I mentioned before was losing one of them at the turn of the year.
My friend was a migrant too and he left us during a trip to his home country. This dimension has made things feel somehow even more wrong. He spent much of his adult life here and we enjoyed him for so many years. But at his passing, there was no time to get to the funeral and he is simply gone. I hope to go to his home one of these days and see where home was for him, where he chose to be at this time. I guess or maybe hope that a trip there will allow me to get to know him even better, even though he is not here.
Living as a migrant for so long, one gets used to saying goodbye to people. It is always sad, but many of us love travelling, so if it is a good friend, you know, or at least hope, that you will see each other again at some point in the future. There are also so many ways to be in touch as well now, virtually. I haven’t quite figured out yet how to deal with someone leaving the country permanently, without a proper goodbye … maybe it will come one day, maybe not.
I miss my friend.
He was a fan of Eckhart Tolle, so I finish up with a quotes from him that my friend might say to me if he were sitting next to me now …
“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”
― Eckhart Tolle
I need to find inspiration elsewhere for my recipe this week. My friend and I used to eat together often, usually at my place. He loved food and so there was no particular favourite that I can think of to share here. Instead I will find a new recipe, something from his home country, Portugal, and have a go at it this weekend. I will let you know how it goes!